A newly launched program from the Wells Fargo Foundation will help 5,000 people of color attain homeownership in San Diego County by the end of 2025.
With great weather, miles of coastline, and a mix of coastal, urban and inland neighborhoods, San Diego – known as America’s Finest City – offers residents endless opportunities to play at the beach, enjoy the arts, and take in Cali-baja food and nightlife. A robust job market, public transit and low commute times makes the city even more attractive. It’s also home to Balboa Park, a world-class green space with museums, trails, and the San Diego Zoo.
With a diverse population of nearly 1.4 million residents, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States. According to the city’s department of economic development, nearly 41 percent of the population speaks a language other than English at home, and the city is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the nation.
San Diego has 50 miles of coastline, and borders Mexico to the south. It’s among the safest large cities in the U.S., and is known as a great place to retire. It has a large military population, great hospitals and schools, and boasts more than 34,000 acres of developed and undeveloped open space, including three regional parks, 190 neighborhood parks, and 25 miles of ocean and bay beaches. There are also numerous swimming pools, bike paths and golf courses.
Families and tourists alike will enjoy visiting SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Del Mar Thoroughbred Races, Legoland, and the Cabrillo National Monument. Art and culture lovers will appreciate the city’s wide range of venues, from museums to the symphony, opera and theater.
Innovative industries are thriving here, and job seekers will find opportunities in life sciences, genomics, biotech, telecommunications, software and electronics. Fourteen of the city’s advanced industries pay an average $116,600 per year. Tech, international trade, manufacturing, the military, healthcare, education and tourism are the city’s main industries.
According to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), “the population of San Diego is younger, better-educated, and earns more than the national average.” The City of San Diego’s median household income is $93,042, and the median home value is $768,800.
While the job market is strong and unemployment is low, as with many communities across the nation, the cost of living in San Diego is rising. And as it rises, wages are not keeping up with the spike in prices for things like housing, electricity and gas, Dr. Alan Gin, economics professor for the University of San Diego, told news station CBS8 in Spring 2022.
To help low- and moderate-income families attain home ownership, the city has a few programs to help homebuyers with a down payment and closing costs.
In September of 2022, the San Diego Housing Commission launched a $7.5 million grant program to provide homeownership opportunities for people of color. The Wealth Opportunities Restored through Homeownership (WORTH) grants are funded by Wells Fargo, and will help the city assist 5,000 homebuyers of color through 2025. Information on the new program will be updated at SDHC’s website for the Homeownership Equity Project.
Under another, separate program, the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) also offers HUD-funded deferred loans and homeownership grants to help low- and moderate-income families buy their first homes.
Eligible buyers may qualify for a deferred-payment, second loan of up to 22 percent of the purchase price at a fixed, three percent interest rate, and no payments are due on the loan for 30 years. The maximum sales price for a single family home under this program is $885,000. The City of San Diego additionally offers assistance with up to $10,000 in closing costs either as a grant or a forgivable loan, depending on the buyer’s income level. Learn more here.